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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
 
FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

Best of the Best: Royal Hideaway Playacar is Best Luxury Coastal Resort of 2011

September 30, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Royal Hideaway Playacar, Mexico

 We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance know better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We'd like to welcome you to our new blog series, Best of the Best, where we’ll be featuring the best and most luxurious resorts in various categories. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business by the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards, so you can relax and stop worrying about your upcoming trip, knowing that it truly will be the best of the best.

It’s probably a little out of place to use a gambling metaphor for a coastal resort, but with a name like Royal Hideaway Playacar, it’s hard not to resort [Ed: stop that!] to it when such a shameless pun is on the line: Play your cards right, and you’ll be staying at the Playacar in no time.

Located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the Royal Hideaway lies on the bluest, clearest waters you’ll ever see. The major selling point? The Hideaway has a minimum age of 13, so there won’t be any of those pesky kids running about and distracting you from the pure relaxation of the Mexican coast. The adult-oriented resort boasts a AAA Five Diamond award and boy has it earned it. Sandy tropical beaches accent the colonial Mexican architecture and leafy palm trees that shade you from the tanning sun. And now that fall is upon us, there’s no better time to escape to a place where the changing of the seasons hasn’t brought a slight chill to the air. Take in the warm rays of sunlight on the furnished balcony or terrace that comes with every single room, and avail yourself of world-class spa treatments. So make sure you check out the Best Luxury Coastal Resort of 2011.


Fantasy Meets Reality: Crete Has Legendary Beaches, Minotaurs

September 16, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

 Elounda Villas

Hello, Sir or Madam.  Welcome to my little corner of the internet.  You’ve probably come because you Googled something like “luxury hotels + minotaur” or “best hotel in Crete + part 2 of a series of real-life destinations that will spark the imagination and transport you to another world.”  You didn’t?  Well, in any case, do have a seat; and, if you’ll let me, I’d love to tell you a bit about another destination as well known for its fantasy as its reality.  Check out Part 1 here.

   

Part 2 - Crete

What do you call someone from Crete? A Cretin? Cretacious? Creatine? Well, four thousand years ago, it was the Minoans who called it home. Besides having the most powerful mercantile fleet in the Mediterranean, the Minoans are most well-known for their namesake, King Minos.  As the stories tell it, Minos was beholden to the legendary Minotaur who lived in a vast labyrinth and demanded a sacrifice of 14 young men and women every nine years. For decades, the king complied, until the hero Theseus promised to slay the Minotaur.  As much a ladies’ man as beast-slayer, Theseus killed the minotaur and survived only with help from his lover, Ariadne, who provided him with a ball of string he used to track his path through the maze.  Theseus returned home in triumph, but unfortunately for his father, raised the black sails that indicate he had died on the voyage, and his father threw himself from a cliff in anguish before Theseus reached the port.  Little did we know the whole story was just an allegory for calling your family. 

Not surprisingly, modern-day Crete is better known for its beaches than its endless mazes.  Situated in the middle of the Mediterranean, the coastal waters are as blue as the summer sky.  And while your journey to Crete is unlikely to involve slaying a legendary beast, you might vanquish a few canapés as you enjoy the pristine waters and unequaled service at Elounda, one of the world’s most exclusive beach resorts.  While you’re there, make a trip to Knossos to check out the ruins of the 1000-room palace that was the site of the myth of the Minotaur.  Just remember to raise your white sail on the return home. 

 


Free $1000 Air Credit from L.A. to Turtle Island Resort, Fiji

August 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Turtle IslandEscape to a private island resort in the South Pacific for a romantic getaway. Turtle Island, a favorite haunt of celebrities, is giving away an $1,000 air credit when you book a five-night stay. What's more, they'll throw in two extra nights for free. With over 500 acres for just 14 couples at a time, Turtle Island is the ultimate honeymoon hideaway. Discover what Andrew Harper calls "as close to heaven on earth as you’re likely to get." Rates include all meals, drinks, and activities like sport fishing and scuba diving. The Washington Post researched the rates: A seven-night stay is $12,495 in a two-room beachfront cottage. Stay December 1, 2011-April 30, 2012.


All-Inclusive Escape to the Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba

July 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Resort and Casino, ArubaLooking for a toes-in-the-sand Caribbean getaway without the surprise of hidden resort fees? The Westin Resort & Casino-- facing the sparkling blue sea off Aruba's beautiful Palm Beach-- has all-inclusive packages that are good value for money. Recently unveiled, the new "Modified All-Inclusive Package" allows more flexibility than the Classic All-Inclusive Experience- as dinners are not included so you can explore Aruba's restaurants. You get breakfast at Bon Bini Café, lunch at the Terrace restaurant, unlimited drinks at the resort’s Tambu Bar and Lobby Bar, and non-motorized water sports such as kayaks and surf boards. All for just $399 per room, per night (based on double occupancy). Children can be added to the daily plan for $35 for ages five – 12 and $55 for ages 13 – 17. The package and rates are valid through December 2011.

 


Off-Season Deals in the Caribbean at the All-Inclusive ME Resort, Cancun

July 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

ME Hotel CancunAs far as luxury beach resorts go, there's not much missing at ME Cancun on the Mexican Riviera. A playground for adults, the ME Cancun has two pools with daybeds, a big spa and 24/7 fitness center, a Beach Club, five restaurants and seven bars. The best part of all? It's an all-inclusive paradise, so you get all meals and drinks (including house wines, beer, and international premium liquors) included with your room rates. It's a total luxury experience at a real value. Hot deals: The ME Hotel in Cancun has rates around $300 a night during the summer, with a $200 resort credit for the food and alcohol that aren't usually included in the all-inclusive rates (think private beach dinners and Champagne from the wine cellar).


Starwood Opens 1st All-Inclusive Resort: The Westin Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal in Costa Rica

May 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Resort, Playa Conchal, Costa RicaGood news for those itching to vacation in style in beautiful Costa Rica. Starwood's just opened their first all-inclusive resort, and it's pretty swank. Formerly called the Paradisus Playa Conchal Resort, The Westin Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal-- centered around a lagoon-style pool-- is starting to redo the 406 suites and all public areas-- a renovation project that will be done in phases until the end of 2011. The advantages of staying at an all-inclusive resort are many, notably, no surprise fees when using the leisure facilities and dining at the restaurants. (Though we imagine that guests must pay for massages at the spa!) The launch of The Westin Resort & Spa, Playa Conchal marks the return of Starwood Hotels to Costa Rica after 20 years.


Sponsored Article: Summer Family Vacation at Old Bahama Bay Resort

April 26, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Old Bahama Bay ResortFishing, snorkeling and sailing lessons; shallow "kid-friendly" beach waters; oversized two-bedroom guest rooms... You'd be hard-pressed to find a better vacation spot for a family getaway. Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour-- located just 55 miles east of Palm Beach, Florida-- is the ideal spot for some fun in the sun with loads of family activities. Just in time for summer vacation, the resort has introduced a 4-night package for families featuring a private snorkeling excursion, 4 hours of babysitting services, and daily breakfast and dinner for two adults and two children (ages 12 and under).

During the day, kids can take advantage of the resort's playground, chock full of beach toys, or play table tennis or baseball. There's also a children's DVD library. While parents enjoy a romantic dinner at Bonefish Bonefish Folley's overlooking the marina, or a night out at Teaser's Tiki Bar, the kids will be taken care of by "Bahama Mamas"- the resorts babysitting service. Priced from $4,025, the 4-night Family Package at Old Bahama Bay Resort also includes daily dinner and round-trip airport transfers. Available until September 6, 2011.


A Family Trip to Cancun at the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach

February 17, 2011
By: Daniel L. Moses

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral BeachHave you seen the recently released Adam Sandler screen gem, ‘Just Go With It’? Sure you have, a couple of times at least. Well, good for you. I haven’t seen it, but I did see a few commercials and the locations looked amazing, in fact amazing enough that I wanted to go right away to lay in the surf and sand where the movie was set! The problem is, having yet to see it, I don’t actually know which surf and sand are present in the shots of Sandler and his co-star Brooklyn Decker frolicking on the beach.

While a simple solution would be to google for the answer, I decided instead to daydream about the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach in Cancun, Mexico, a place that has its own surf and sand in abundance! And since ‘Just Go With It’ is supposedly about Sandler’s character pretending to have a family, you can bring your real family to Fiesta Americana, one of Mexico’s most family friendly resorts!

This AAA 5 Diamond property is set right on beach with stunning ocean views from every angle. For the little ones, Fiesta Americana offers complimentary children’s programs, and those under 12 not only stay free, but can eat free too! So while that movie probably taught important lessons about the value of family, those of us who already have one can learn valuable lessons for our wallets at the luxurious Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach.


A Deal at the Luxury All-Inclusive Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort

February 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Velas Riviera Maya ResortCraving some beach lounging in the sunshine? A trip south of the border is one of the best travel values to be had right now. On Mexico's Riviera Maya, you'll find some of the prettiest stretches of beach on the planet, plus an array of luxury resorts with top-notch facilities on the sand. We've spotted an excellent deal at the all-inclusive, AAA Five Diamond Award-winning Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Because it's all-inclusive, the resort prices include luxury suite accommodations, a la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium branded beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, the services of a personal trainer at the fitness center, and nightly entertainment. And with the "Mayan Spa" package, priced from $350 per person, per night from now until April 30, 2011, you reap the rewards. Like a $50 spa credit per adult per day, kids priced two for one, a 10% discount at the resort boutiques and transportation from the resort to lively downtown Playa del Carmen.


Christmas in the Turks and Caicos: Limited Space at The Veranda

December 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Veranda Resort, Turks and CaicosLooking for a last-minute holiday getaway this year? Act fast and you could score a Caribbean Christmas. The Veranda Resort and Residences-- the all-inclusive luxury resort set on the pristine white sand of world-famous Grace Bay Beach-- has limited space starting December 20, 2010. Couples can relax in the Garden and Ocean View Studios and One-Bedroom Suites, while families can enjoy the multiple-bedroom suites including one of the gorgeous Oceanfront Three-Bedroom Cottages (available for 7 nights starting Dec 20). The resort's facilities run the gamut from the fully-equipped fitness center and spa to the Kids Club. Right outside your front door: a little piece of paradise in the Turks and Caicos.